Svoid are a Hungarian duo hailing from Budapest whose ten year existence has seen the band shift slowly from Black metal towards integrating more and more Rock influences until fully crossing over. While such an evolution is commonplace and the source for various dismal trends, Svoid on the other hand make their intentions clear that they are heavily informed from both genres since their inception and thus provide a combination that is honest and that unlike their peers seeks to integrate the Black metal elements into the heart of the composition rather using them for purely aesthetic reasons.
The bass is immediately noticeable as it unusually loud and very rarely follows the root notes of the guitar lines as it supplements them with complementary notes from the appropriate notes of the chord progression and even taking the leading role as the guitars just provide a few power chords as seen on “Antania”. This allows the band to expand on their ideas and to modulate them accordingly without alienating the listener as the guitar riffs provide stability. The bass and and guitar interplay is the genuine highlight of the album as it provides new perspectives from known ideas.
The Black metal elements consist of some of the more common ideas of the Norwegian movement played without much aplomb. The way Svoid will articulate their arpeggios on top of those riffs lies completely within the most conventional Rock progressions. The band have in large part removed the chromaticism that lies outside of the natural minor scale to allow themselves to more easily combine both genres. While at times this creates a certain amount of flaccidity within the music as there is little tension in the development, it also permits the band to create a few victorious passages that almost reach the grandeur of Black metal but are diluted with a basic groove to instill a more human sense of achievement and pride as soon in the conclusion of “Queen of those Below”.
While the album surpasses many of its peers in that it does truly seek to evoke aspects of Black metal spirit, it also falls into the common traps that are associated with this style. Certain passages are repeated multiple times for the sake of “atmosphere” while foregoing movement for large periods of time as seen on “Eleven Alpha”. Some of the ideas delve far too much into pure Rock and when repeated multiple times ressemble any other hispter band. While these passages aren’t dominating, their presence is irritating and ruins the already weak arrangements of these songs that struggle to create tension.
To Never Return does what Hipster Black and Black n’ Roll attempted and shows a decent modicum of success in its fusion but still bears many flaws. Svoid have shown the way in an enjoyable record that does drift away from the ethos of Black metal but with sincerity and passion for a different vision. Svoid almost manage to right all the wrongs from the hordes of trendsters.